Bay Awesome 2023 TBay Top 20 Gift List

’Tis the season for eggnog, sparkly lights, classic movies and of course presents! Embrace the season of giving by choosing Thunder Bay and shopping local this Christmas. And this year, the best gifts don’t necessarily come in a box, with so many unique TBay experiences highlighting the list. 

Whether it’s a pottery class, a yoga polar plunge,  indulging in a wine and chocolate tasting , or a tree print workshop , experiences are a way of giving your friends and family memorable moments and something to look forward to after all of the fun of the season is over. Perhaps it will even teach them something new!  Without further adieu (and a whole lot of research) I am happy to present the SEVENTH annual Bay Awesome TBay Top 20 Gift List. 

Thanks to DZ Photography for helping me capture many of the adventures.

1. Sandpiper Farm: Christmas Trees & Milk Boutique Gifts

In the the words of Clark W. Griswold “We’re kicking off our fun old fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.”

In this case we headed out to Slate River Valley down highway 130 where the Miller Family has been growing and trimming acres of Christmas trees for over thirty years. Sandpiper Farm, one of the largest you-cut Christmas tree farms in the area, promises a fun little adventure with some unexpected gift options. 

Year after year, it’s a tradition for a number of people, selecting a live tree to be chopped down and brought back to pop up in the living room. The Millers have plenty to choose from once you arrive to the farm, with over 800 trees planted annually. Among the choices is the traditional white spruce, and balsam fir. 

“It’s special to see families that brought their children here, now bringing their children to find that perfect Christmas tree. Everyone is always so happy when they come to visit!”

Al Miller, Founder of Sandpiper Tree Farm

So what should you look for when it comes to that perfect tree? “Everybody is different. All the trees match personalities-the best tree for one family might be a total Charlie Brown Christmas tree to others.” “It’s all about the shape, colour and height.”

While visiting you also have to check out the Milk House Boutique that opened five years ago for visitors to enjoy. Inside you will find crocheted toys, hats, scarfs, jewelry, paintings and many other little gifts. It’s truly a family affair, with everything grown and made by members of the the Miller family. 

The Sandpiper Farm is open Friday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Don’t forget to grab your candy cane and say hi to Barney the dog. Winter hats worn in the photos are from Norm & Lou Handmade @normandlouhandmade

2. Pulp + Paper Creative: Fresh from the Stump- Tree Printing Workshop

Learn insider tips and tricks from the artist herself! The Pulp + Paper Fresh from the Stump Tree Printing Workshop explores the entire process of creating one of the company’s well-recognized tree prints.

Artist and graphic designer Heather Cranston takes participants through all the steps of how to prepare the wood, what makes a good print, and even troubleshoots along the way. After a quick demo, the group then has a chance to try out their new skills, get their hands dirty and test prints of their own. Participants will select their ideal cookie (slab of tree that has been prepared for printing), ink it, and then print it. 

Heather’s love for tree printing, stems from a desire to take a break from the computer. Serendipity knocked on her door, as power lines were being cleared in her neighbourhood which resulted in stacks and stacks of tree stumps available for grabs. She scoped out a few, looking for some neat designs and then started experimenting. The rest is history (if you saw the inside of my home it’s literally a Pulp + Paper Tree Print Gallery). I think it’s safe to say she has become a master of the trade.

Hey look! I made this!!! (One of the best parts of the workshop is the final print you get to take home and hang proudly on the wall).

The tree printing workshop is perfect for gifting.  As seen above, each space booked also receives a small gifting-ready package including a certificate with the date, time and location, and a handprinted notecard. Tickets can be booked here, with dates available on January 26th and 27th, 2024.


3. Cardinal Chocolate Dessert & Wine Bar:  Wine & Chocolate Tasting

The ultimate pairing- Wine & chocolate. Indulge your senses with a decadent wine and chocolate experience and discover why they are truly a match made in heaven. Cardinal Chocolate Company’s Wine and Chocolate Bar is now open, located inside Red Lion Smokehouse. The bar is quaint little space with vintage vibes, featuring birdcages, mirrors, accents of lace, and a soft glow from candles filling the room. 

“Cardinal Chocolate Company is a bit of a nod to my Grandmother…it was her favourite bird. We’ve incorporated the Cardinal in the bar design which was lovingly done by one of our long-term employees Brielle Daoust.”

Chef & Owner, John Murray

The dessert menu features a variety of sweet options including handmade chocolate truffles and bonbons, all created by Chef John Murray. Murray who has extensive pastry training and background (Micheline Star trained in London), also studied as a Sommelier. Offering desserts and wine are two things he’s very passionate about; “this is a way for me to use some of my knowledge and training to do something new.”

Perhaps they like dark espresso chocolate and a juicy red? Maybe a rosé  and a hazelnut milk chocolate truffle? This gift is the perfect opportunity to discover why wine and chocolate pair beautifully together. The trick is finding the right combination and my advice is not to be afraid to experiment and try unconventional matches.

Chef Murray recommends “the sparkling red Lambrusco that is something unusual (served chilled) and it really goes nicely with dark chocolate- specifically our dark chocolate tart.”  Open Thursday to Saturday from 8:00 pm until close. There will also be a High Tea option added to the menu in December. 

4. Cheese Encounter Gift Boxes

CHEESE PLEASE!!  There’s one thing that most of us can agree on: cheese is awesome, and Cheese Encounter Gift Boxes are even more awesome (not to mention perfect for the food lover who already has everything). Curated by expert cheesemongers, they are available in a variety of price ranges from $56 to $205, with each box created with a variety of artisanal cheeses and dry goods. They are packed in a sturdy gift box, wrapped with a festive red bow (one less thing for you to do), and even comes with a Cheese Encounter holiday card. 

“After years and years in the business, we can confirm that artisanal cheese is beloved by all. A variety of tasty cheeses offer a chance for folks to explore the vast world of cheese, without having to front the bill. Often times, this is a nice treat for folks who may not be able to visit us as regularly as they’d like, or for that hard to buy for someone who ‘has everything. And last but not least, artisan cheese is delicious!”

Matt Wilkins, Owner

Now if you have walked into Cheese Encounter you will notice SOOO many options that might be intimidating to someone who hasn’t taken a deep give into the world of delicious cheese. “Don’t be shy! We’re here to spread our cheesy knowledge, and help you navigate the often overwhelmingly large selection we have on hand. Come see us anytime you’re feeling ‘cheese curious’, and we’ll explore the world of artisan cheese together.”

“I love being able to share delicious, lesser known cheeses and foods with our customers, many of whom are excited and interesting members of the local food community. The fact that so many different cheeses can be made with only the same few ingredients is another thing that has drawn me in, and kept me interested over the years.”

Please note capacity is limited for the gift boxes, so it’s strongly recommended to preorder as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Also one of my favs from Cheese Encounter, the best candy you will EVER have. Pablo Garrigos Ibañez Fruitès. These glistening jewels of fresh fruit pâte de fruits made in Ibanez, Spain, are only available at the shop during the holiday season. Each box contains five different flavours of the gourmet sweets,  all made with real fruit: plum, raspberry, strawberry, green apple, peach, tangerine, pineapple and grape.

Cheese Encounter is  located in the Bay and Algoma neighbourhood, and open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Call the shop (807) 286-1082 or stop by to order. 


5. Liv Crafty: Stitch Portraits

Another year, another holiday scratching your head wondering what do I get for my mom? Capture your family in a more meaningful way. Cross-stitch figures for each family member. Stitch Portraits by Liv Crafty are customized, cross stitch and embroidered portraits of families, friends, and pets. Whether it’s inspired by a family portrait, wedding day, or even anniversary gift, it’s truly a special memento that really captures the people in it. The special part about these hoops, is you will notice all the finer details, like a pattern on a dress or curly little hair, which really encourages you to appreciate those that matter most.

All portraits can have backgrounds or elements added to them including floral borders, trees, arches, RVs, tents, wheelchairs, or strollers. “What’s really special about the stitch portraits is that it can be stitched to look like a group of people are together, during times when it might not be possible to do so.”

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always been a crafty person. I liked to try every and any craft I came across. I learned how to cross stitch when I was 10 years old old- it was an L with a teddy bear sitting on the letter. I made it for my Mom and it hung in our kitchen for years.”

Olivia Riccia, Liv Crafty

Stitch portraits and ornaments are unique and customized to the individual and family, making them a great, one of a kind gift that can’t be found in stores. You can order your Stitch Portrait or ornament by emailing: or by visiting @livcraftytbay

6. Sleepy G Farm- Holiday Harvest Box

From the farm to right under the Christmas Tree, the Sleepy G Holiday Harvest Box is full of organic goodness that is sure to make an awesome gift this holiday season.  Bursting with Sleepy G’s locally grown, hand harvested carrots, potatoes, beets, onion and garlic, and wrapped up in a cute (barn shaped) handle box, this gift is awesome for people or families that enjoy cooking or even juicing. 

All of that veg is packed in Sleepy G’s newly upgraded produce bags that have a convenient zipper-closure and will ensure the contents of the Harvest Box stays fresh until giving time. (Holiday Harvest boxes should be kept refrigerated or in a cool, dark place where they will not freeze. Contents of the box will last approximately four weeks in the fridge.)

“Sleepy G Holiday Harvest Boxes are a gift for anyone who eats food!  Perfect for as a grab and go present for holiday gift exchanges, work parties hosts, service providers and neighbours. Avoid giving knick knacks and with little waste, this gift offers beautiful local food folks can enjoy at home”

Marcelle Paulin, Sleepy G Farm

Sleepy G Farm was founded in 2010 by Marcelle and Brendan with a commitment to land stewardship through organic agriculture.  Named after the Sleeping Giant, Sleepy G Farm is located in Pass Lake just a few kilometres from Lake Superior. Fun Fact: the team of oxen in the farm’s logo are  “working steers” named Red and River. “If you visit the farm you can catch a glimpse of these gentle beasts in the winter pasture.”

Sleepy G Holiday Harvest Boxes are available throughout the holiday season. Order online for pickup in Pass Lake or delivery to Thunder Bay (fee). In person purchases can be made at Sleepy G’s on-Farm Store in Pass Lake and George’s Market.


7. Zaagi Creations: Ode’imin (Strawberry) Earrings

For those looking for a very meaningful and culturally significant gift, these stunning earrings are hand-crafted with real dried strawberries. Created by Zaagi Creations, they carry a deep symbolism of love, unity, and cultural heritage. “Their unique blend of aesthetic charm and profound Indigenous significance makes them a thoughtful and heartfelt gift, as well perfect for those strawberry lovers,” explains artist Morgan Bannon-Ogima.

Zaagi Creations came to fruition in May of 2021 during the global lockdown. Looking for ways to fulfil her time, Morgan ended up trying out a new artistic medium: resin epoxy. With a vision to craft contemporary jewelry that was inspired by traditional medicines,  she turned to an Elder for guidance before starting her artistic journey to ensure cultural appropriateness. “Encouraged by their words to ‘go for it,’ I embarked on this endeavour wholeheartedly. Derived from Zaagi’idiwin, the Ojibwe term for love, Zaagi Creations specializes in crafting unique Indigenous-inspired jewelry and artistic pieces, each meticulously handmade and infused with affection. Crafted by an Indigenous ikwe (woman) from Fort William First Nation.”

The strawberry earrings are each crafted using a genuine dried ode’imin (strawberry), delicately encapsulated in resin epoxy.

“This meticulous process serves to both protect its exquisite beauty and honour its profound significance within the Indigenous community and to those who cherish its importance. As symbol of love, harmony, and renewal, strawberries are often incorporated into ceremonies, rituals, and traditional practices. Beyond its nutritional value, the strawberry represents unity and the interconnectedness between people and nature, reflecting teachings about relationships, respect for the land, and the interconnectedness of all living beings. Its presence in stories, artwork, and traditional medicine highlights its deep-rooted significance within Indigenous cultures, signifying not just sustenance but embodying a profound spiritual and cultural meaning passed down through generations.”

The strawberry earrings are available at @zaagicreations

8. Art of Yoga: Polar Plunge Wellness Experience

Give the gift of the coooooolest experience. What better way to celebrate winter than by taking a dip in the chilly waters, *correction* freeeeeeezzzzzing waters of Lake Superior (the coldest of the the great lakes).  Art of Yoga offers a truly unique northern Ontario wellness experience— combining yoga, sauna and a cold plunge, that is truly a rejuvenating experience.

So what should attendees expect? Following a yoga class in a cozy studio, get dressed in a mix of beachwear and winter wear- water shoes, bikinis and toques, and you will then head into the sauna and proceed to a hole cut in the ice, equipped with a ladder to hold onto.  From my experience, once in the water, some dippers crouched down to submerge themselves up to their chests, while others put their entire head under water. Some lingered for minutes, others were in and out in seconds.

Cold plunges have been around since ancient times and have been used in various forms of hydrotherapy around the world to increase blood circulation. Cold immersion is also said to help skin elasticity and helps stabilize blood pressure. One thing that’s for sure is it’s definitely an exhilarating and refreshing adventure. 

Visit Art of Yoga online to purchase a gift certificate for a public class or you can book a private experience that includes a custom yoga glass, private sauna and the cold plunge experience. 


9. George’s Market: Christmas Morning Brunch Basket

Formal holiday dinners can be fun, but there is something special about indulging in a feast while wearing holiday jammies. After all, who doesn’t love all of the delicious treats that come with holiday breakfast. The Christmas Morning Brunch Basket by George’s Market is the perfect gift this holiday season! With an assortment of local pancake mix, Canada West maple syrup, Rose N Crantz coffee, bagels, jams and more, it’s an yummy (and convenient) way to start the big day and will fuel your gift opening and family visits.

“This is also an awesome Christmas gift because it takes the guess work out of what to make for breakfast that day, plus, it’s a fun activity for the whole family to take part in. You get a great mixture of local and gourmet products too!”

Graysen Thompson, George’s Market

Created by the team at George’s Market that has been in the neighbourhood for over 60 years,  the Thompson family LOVES Christmas and actually told me they spend the ENTIRE day in their matching holiday pjs. George’s Market has a ton of gift ideas including a Charcu-wreath, simmer pot jars, decorations, cute mugs, and stunning greenery and florals. 

You can place your order in person by visiting the market (open seven days a week) call (807) 345-7053, or order online. @georgesmarket_celebrations

10. The Tall Moose Saves Christmas

Give the gift of a fun (and very northern inspired) story about a moose on a holiday adventure to help Santa. Written and illustrated by Thunder Bay local Stephanie Vincent, a Nurse Practitioner, wife, and mother of two busy little boys, “The Tall Moose Saves Christmas,” is an enchanting story, sending readers on a captivating quest to help Santa and his forest friends deliver presents despite a terrible storm. Moose learns the true value of working together and helping others to save Christmas.  

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine becoming a children’s author! It all started when I became a mom and embarked on the journey of reading fun (but much too often boring) stories to my little ones. My husband would joke that I could probably write a better story – and thus a seed was planted. Imaginative tales began to sprout in my mind, and before I knew it, I was penning my very own stories. But the journey didn’t stop there. With a lifelong passion for art, I decided to step up my game and bring my own stories to life with illustrations of my own.”

Stephanie Vincent, Author & Illustrator

Vincent explains that the book was inspired by her two moose-loving little boys. With hand-painted original illustrations, it’s the perfect bedtime story, especially one that gets them excited for Christmas! “Parents, if you are tired of the same old holiday stories and are craving a fresh and fun-filled adventure for your littles, this is the perfect book.”

The Tall Moose Saves Christmas will be available at The Loop, Keiki Collective and Evergreen Pharmacy Gift Shop in Kakabeka Falls. You can also visit Stephanie in person for a very special book launch event at The Loop on December 2nd at 2:00 pm. The celebration will include refreshments, book signing, and a much-anticipated reading.

11. Badanai Theatre & TBSO: 9 to 5 The Musical

This gift takes care of business! If you’re looking for a feel good crowd-pleaser,  Badanai Theatre has once again partnered with the TBSO, to bring you Broadway and West End Hit “9 to 5: The Musical”. Inspired by the iconic 80’s film, this  spirited production features music and lyrics by the iconic Dolly Parton and promises a toe-tapping and uplifting experience for audiences.

With a very empowering storyline, 9 to 5 revolves around three working women who unite against their oppressive boss, navigating through humour and heart to triumph over workplace challenges.

With a cast of more than 20 local actors (many who have graced local stages in the past), the production also includes the Thunder Bay Symphony Choir to bring a bigger sound to some of the ensemble numbers. And, of course the sound of a full orchestra (larger than most Broadway pit orchestras) playing the complete score. ”It’s going to sound so big and grand.”

“Whether you’re gifting to a musical aficionado, comedy lover, or someone who simply enjoys a good night out, “9 to 5” caters to diverse tastes. The musical’s blend of humour, heart, and Dolly Parton’s timeless tunes ensures an enjoyable experience for all. The holidays are about spending quality time with loved ones, and what better way to celebrate than with a shared evening of laughter and entertainment to be enjoyed in the New Year.”

Lawrence Badanai

Visit the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium Box Office for in-person ticket purchases on Wednesdays from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm OR buy your tickets online.

12. Uncommon Bake Goods: Gingerbread House Gift Box  & Tonka Bean Sugar Cookie Cutout Kit 

One of my absolute favourite holiday traditions is creating a gingerbread house. Whimsical, edible homes made of sugar, spice and everything nice…what’s not to love? Gingerbread houses have become such a beloved holiday tradition, so Uncommon Baked Goods is giving you the chance to gift this timeless activity. The bakery has created not only a DIY Gingerbread House Gift Box (uncommon style) but also a Tonka Bean Sugar Cookie Cutout Kit.

“Holidays are about spending time together with family and friends and these gifts create the perfect opportunity to do just that. Both kits, making it easy to share time and be creative with your loved ones, while having something delicious to snack on after the fact.”

Jacqueline Johns

The gingerbread kit comes with pre-baked pieces to build and assemble a small house scene, complete with royal icing, assorted candies, uncommon holiday crumbs, and mini gingerbread people. You can follow the included assembly instructions or get creative and make it your own! 

Meanwhile, the Tonka Bean Sugar Cookie Kit comes with pre-scaled dry ingredients and an instruction card, two holiday cookie cutters and sprinkles for decoration. You get to mix the dough, roll it out, cut, decorate and bake it at home! “Tonka is a super interesting spice that comes from Central America and is similar to vanilla in the way it’s harvested and produced but the flavour is totally unique.  It’s reminiscent of a blend of warm spices mixed with a hint of marzipan.  Some people say it reminds them of white cake mix.  I love using it in baked goods because it’s a familiar yet surprising flavour profile most people haven’t heard of!”

Both boxes will be available beginning December 1st at Uncommon Baked Goods, located at Goods & Co., Wednesday through Friday 11:00 am- 6:00 pm and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

“Throughout my career, I was often questioned and sometimes challenged for using different flavour combinations and ingredients in my dishes so the name Uncommon comes from that… We’re kind of weird… but in a good way.”

While visiting make sure to keep an eye out for the Dinos guarding the pastries. 


13. Calico Coffeehouse: Huskee Cup

A gift for the coffee lover in your life or someone that is looking to brew up change. The Huskee cup, made from coffee plant husks, is a part of a reuse cup-exchange program in collaboration with eco superior. It’s designed for customers to takeaway drinks in reusables just as convenient as single-use cups (just without the waste). 

Single-use cups cost a business, and the planet, a lot. So here’s how it works: The customer hands over their Huskee cup while ordering their favourite Calico drink (hot or cold and any size), they will then receive their order in a cleaned Huskee Cup from the coffeehouse. You then enjoy your coffee and keep the mug until your next visit where you exchange it for a clean one. 

One of our biggest environmental challenges at any coffee spot is the amount of one-time use cups.

“This gift will help reduce waste and keeps your coffee hotter longer . You don’t have to worry about remembering to bring your mug home and cleaning it because we do it for you. It’s durable and made from non toxic materials.”

Sheena Nadin, Calico Coffeehouse

The cups come in 12 and 16 ounce sizes that work with cold and hot drinks. Calico offers a 5% discount on all drinks make in the Huskee cup. Pair it with a bag of Calico coffee beans or a gift certificate. Grab the gift of a sustainable coffee mug at Calico Coffeehouse located at 316 Bay Street.


14. STONY: Falco-Kettle Polo

This is a gift to amp up a wardrobe with a modern take on this closet staple. STONY is a golf apparel brand that brings a unique perspective to the world of golf fashion in Canada.

“We embarked on a journey to create golf apparel that embodies the North’s spirit that is refined and rugged. Originating in Thunder Bay, STONY aims to celebrate Canada’s landscapes, culture and people while maintaining a sense of sophistication.”

Daniel Terril, Stony, President & Founder

The Falco-Kettle, one of STONY’s most popular selling polos, features a fun bird and floral print. It has true versatility that meets halfway between casual and formal to be easily dressed up and down.  The person you buy it for, can wear it everywhere (to work, dinner parties, Norteños, and obviously on the weekends) for years and years to come.

Everybody’s favourite part about this polo shirt will be is its classic fit and comfort. Keep an eye on this up and coming TBay business. STONY now has a roster of 70 retail partners across Canada and counting, not to mention big plans for the 2024 season such expanding its product line and entering the US Market. 

You can buy the Falco-Kettle Polo online, or go visit STONY at Goods & Co. The brand is also available at JB Evans. 


15. Lakeside Studio & Cafe: Try-it Night 

I feel like pottery is on everybody’s bucket list! Well it’s definitely on mine… the squishing, shaping and re-squishing. Plus, people always say they can’t draw, but you never hear anyone say I can’t do clay. Lakeside Studio & Café is a creative community space where people can come and relax, unplug, and explore their creativity- it’s just as cozy and comfortable as someone’s home studio.  

“I was inspired to create this space to offer in-depth workshops on pottery and glasswork, but also a fun location full of different craft projects that people can just come in and try without the commitment of having to purchase tons of supplies at home. The cafe felt like a natural extension of all of this, and I think it just elevates everyone’s experience to have access to delicious drinks and snacks while they are spending time here. The entire cafe is plant based!”

Jamis Hall, Owner, Lakeside Studio & Cafe

Give the gift of a “Try-it Night” at Lakeside. It’s a unique opportunity for people to get to try throwing on the pottery wheel without the commitment of signing up for a full course. The session is an hour and half, and after a demo from the ceramicist, you get on the wheel and work on throwing your own piece. Whatever you make is then fired in the kiln and you also get to glaze and finish your piece. 

Visit: @lakesidestudiocafe

16. June & Jo Spice Co: Collection Box

Something a little spicy for Christmas, and not the typical holiday spices. June & Jo Spice Co. was co-founded in March 2021 by two best friends, Katie Porobic and Audry Gavin, and OG- Grandma June’s recipe. “As a highlight of family gatherings, this blend was used for our “top secret” Texas pork chops. We’ve been giving it as gifts to friends and family for years, always joking about starting a side hustle, because it’s just that good!”

“We had some friends who started small businesses and encouraged us to give our idea a try. We sat down one day and started thinking of company names. It probably took five minutes to land on ‘June & Jo’ – a combination of both of our middle names, with a nice ring to it, but also paying homage to my Grandma June who gave her permission and encouragement for us to bring her recipe to the masses.”

June & Jo Spice Co.’s products are created with versatility in mind. They can be used on a variety of foods, including meats, veggies, soups, dips and snacks. They are also great for any cooking method such as baking, frying, smoking or grilling, all with the goal to simplify a cooking experience.

The Collection Box contains June & Jo Spice Co’s full product line. It includes: Original Seasoning, Sweet & Smokey Seasoning, Hot & Spicy Seasoning, and Crispy Coating Mix (also available gluten free).

Free local delivery is available now until Christmas!  Available at


17. Elsie Rose Keepsakes: Sleeping Giant Necklace 

Recently opening a boutique in Goods & Co. Elsie Rose Keepsakes creates handcrafted fine jewelry, specializing in breastmilk and keepsake pieces, holding all precious and sentimental elements. Named after her daughters, Adrienne Elsie and Delilah Rose, Jamie Tobin explains her littles are the driving force behind it all. 

This gift is perfect for someone who has moved out of the city or has a huge love for Thunder Bay. “The sleeping giant necklaces are something I designed and manufactured myself from start to finish in Ontario. It was super important to stay local because it’s a memento of our home. This one-of-a-kind piece is a special keepsake to always carry a piece of home with you.”

The necklaces are available in sterling silver and solid gold to ensure top quality with two different design options. They can be purchased at the boutique in Goods & Co or online at:

18. The Creative Company: Paint Kits  + Pick & Paint 

For the diehard DIY’ers on your gift list—the ones who can build anything from scratch or like to paint the house for fun—a Creative Company Paint Kit allows them to venture into a crafting experience and will definitely get their creative juices flowing. Opening a present is where the fun should start, but certainly not where it should end. 

The Paint Kits are great gifts for any age. They come with everything you need to create a personalized work of art; the screen-printed canvas, paint, artist palette, and an assortment of brushes. “Our Paint Kits are a great gift for someone who has an interest in art and painting. It’s also a good gift for someone who is looking to try something new, something fun and meditative, and something that they can hang in their home.”

Also a fun gift, Pick & Paint is new to the Creative. Guests visit and pick their favourite canvas to paint in the Studio. Once a guest has their canvas, they can head over to the Paint Bar, where the Studio Attendant will prepare the palette with the guest’s chosen colours for their piece. Pick & Paint offers the opportunity to paint alongside local artists who all have different artistic backgrounds and styles. “We are always eager to share our tips and techniques with guests. For this gift option, we provide gift certificates.”

The Creative Company is located at 1134 Roland St. 

19. The Pasta Shoppe: Let’s Make Gnocchi Class

For the pasta lover in your life! The gift of learning to create tender homemade gnocchi with the same love and skills as Nonna. In this interactive class, participants will learn a special technique of hand-rolling using the Pasta Shoppe’s light and fluffy ricotta dough recipe, along with how to prepare a simple flavourful sauce. It’s a delightful culinary experience suitable for all skill levels. Plus, you get to take home your hard work (after you taste it, of course). 

“I think our Gnocchi classes make an awesome gift because they take you through the experience of learning, making and tasting. Our classes were created to be a hands on experience that gives you the confidence and skills to continue rolling gnocchi in your home kitchen, long after class is finished.”

Ashlyn Ransome, Co-owner, The Pasta Shoppe

The Pasta Shoppe will have a few different dates available through January to mid February. Working in the Goods & Co location, they like to keep class sizes small and intimate to ensure a quality learning experience. You can book classes here.  Private Gnocchi classes are also available online.  @the_pasta_shoppe

20. Poppy’s Picnic Experience

It’s the ultimate picnic experience. Imagine the perfect picnic, without any of the work? Cue Poppy’s Picnics. The family business started in the spring of 2022 inspired by their time in British Columbia. After the birth of their daughter, Poppy, they happily returned home to Thunder Bay with a hope the community would love the pop-up picnic experience they discovered while away. “We couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy good company, delicious food, and a love of nature!”

Poppy’s Picnics brings the picnic to you. They are known for their bubble tent that is often incorporated into its picnics. The tent allows picnickers to enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, creating a unique dining experience under the stars or surrounded by nature. Poppy’s Picnics also creates a lot of beautiful settings at the lake for any occasion.

In addition to lovely outdoor picnic set ups, Poppy’s Picnics offers winter indoor (or living room) picnics for those who want a picnic feel and a reminder spring is coming soon. Customize your picnic with items like delicious charcuterie from Carte Blanche, a mini s’mores maker or poloroid camera. You can book your picnic at

Thank you for continuing to support local. I hope you love the items on the list just as much as I did. #Tbaylovin xo

About the author

Amanda Bay

Amanda is a PR Gal from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is a news enthusiast and communications specialist, navigating the media world for over 17 years. Being very passionate about her community, she strives to create a positive reaction through giving back and her work. It's about finding the awesome in all of life's experiences.

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